Makayla Stevenson playing piano during senior recital

Makayla Stevenson Senior Piano Recital Highlights

Makayla Stevenson recently performed her senior piano recital at Maranatha Baptist University. Under the direction of her instructor June Brus, she prepared and practiced advanced piano selections for months. After graduating with her music degree with concentrations in Piano Pedagogy and Arranging, she plans to serve in ministry opportunities, take lessons furthering her piano skill, and eventually open her own studio.

Mendelssohn: Concerto in G Minor

First, Stevenson explains the history and themes of Mendelsson’s Concerto. “Felix Mendelssohn was one of the first major composers of piano and orchestral music after Beethoven. He was a Jewish Christian; and the craft, precision, and beauty of his music reflect a heart of love for his Savior. The theme of this movement is introduced by the orchestra, echoed in the solo piano entrance, and tossed between the parts throughout the piece. Mendelssohn’s writing conveys a sense of understated elegance, as technically challenging passages are overshadowed by the simple lyricism of the theme.”

Beethoven: Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, “Pathétique”

Next, Stevenson’s selections include Sonata No. 8, or “Pathétique,” by Ludwig van Beethoven. “This popular sonata is one of Beethoven’s early piano works and showcases the transition between the structure of the Classical era and the expressive freedom of the Romantic style,” she explains. “The second movement opens with a lyrical melody that builds to a peak of passion before returning to the character of the opening motive. Then, the third movement is in rondo form, stating a theme that returns throughout. The use of Alberti bass, minimal pedaling, and little fluctuation in tempo reflects the classical style of Haydn, Beethoven’s teacher. In contrast to the emotional depth of the second movement epitomizing the Romantic era, this rondo portrays the intellectual precision yet playful restraint of the Classical period.”

Kirkpatrick: ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (Arr. Pinkston)

Finally, Stevenson tells of the personal significance and spiritual meaning of a special hymn. “This hymn arrangement is special to me because I learned it during a very difficult time in my life. I was sure of God’s call, yet I could not see the way ahead. It was the first real test of my faith, as I had no options other than to trust that He would provide for me. Day after day, this song provided comfort and reassurance that the Lord would be faithful. He would take care of the results if I would simply trust Him. In the words of Elisabeth Elliot, ‘He gives all the light we need for trust and obedience.'”